Lloyd Kelly (Clint Walker) is the foreman of a crew of five that are building facilities on a deserted island off the coast of Africa. An oil drilling company plans on taking up residence on the island and, with only five days left, the work must be completed on time. While working with the bulldozer “Mack” McCarthy (Robert Urich) uncovers an unusual rock. Kelly tries to dig up the rock that appears to have been buried for years. When the blade of the dozer hits the rock it emits a blue light. The light transfers something from the rock to the blade of the bulldozer. The same blue light hits Mack and sends him to the ground. Something in it burns him like radiation burns. That night Mack dies.
When Kelly tries to drive the dozer back to camp he loses control of it. It seems to be possessed. In order to stop it he cuts the fuel line. Kelly then tows it back to camp. When mechanic Chub Foster (Neville Brand) examines the bulldozer he can’t find anything that would explain its strange behavior. The only thing out of place is an unusual sound coming from the dozer’s blade. Not wanting to take any chances Kelly orders that the dozer not be used for the time being.
At first Chub doesn’t notice when Beltran (James A. Watson Jr.) jumps into the cab of the dozer and starts it up. Immediately the dozer takes over its own controls and crushes their only form of communication, the short wave radio. It then takes off with Beltran still in the cab. Beltran jumps off and the dozer turns and goes after him. The dozer keeps on coming and finally crushes him.
The next day the dozer runs over the men’s camp destroying as much as possible. Their ranks, now reduced to Kelly, Chub, Dennis Holvig (Carl Betz) and Dutch Krasner (James Wainwright), gather as much food and water as they can and head for higher ground. It’s clear now that something happened to the bulldozer that is not of this world. And it wants to kill them all.
“Killdozer” was released in 1974 and was directed by Jerry London. It is a made for TV science fiction/horror movie. It is based on the story by Theodore Sturgeon written in 1944. A comic book was also done of the story that same year. Panned at the time, by both critics and movie goers, the movie is now firmly in the grasp of a cult following and is now considered a classic.
This mechanical conveyance run amok film is a fun horror movie. In the tradition of “The Car” 1977, “Duel” 1971 “Maximum Overdrive” 1986 and even “Christine” 1983 “Killdozer” personifies a normally inanimate object and transforms it into a thinking, reasoning, serial-killer. It seems that man is at least just a little afraid of what he creates.
It’s not as fancy as other killer vehicle movies but it gets the job done. One highlight of the film, you get to see what would win in a fight, a bulldozer or a steam shovel. Since it’s a made for TV movie you don’t get to see it crush anyone on screen. You’ll have to use your imagination on that point. Short on blood and guts perhaps but still entertaining enough to make you whistle whenever you pass a construction site late at night.
There are a lot of good veteran actors in this movie. As a matter of fact, all of them are. There are only six characters in the whole film but the acting is good. Several of them are character actors that you’ve seen many times but never knew their names. Carl Betz appeared as guest star in many TV shows and starred as Clinton Judd in the TV series “Judd for the Defense” in the late sixties as well as the father in “The Donna Reed Show” 1958-1966. Neville Brand also did numerous guest appearances in various TV shows throughout his career. He also played Reese Bennett in the TV series “Laredo” in the sixties as well as guest star as Al Capone in “The Untouchables” TV series. James Wainwright is another veteran actor with many TV show appearances under his belt. He also played Cully in the “Daniel Boone” TV series and Simon Quaid in “Beyond Westworld”. James Watson was in “Airplane II” and his longest TV stint was as Deputy DA Jim Barnes in “Quincy ME”. Robert Urich and Clint Walker are better known actors in both television and movies.